Call Centre industry a beacon of hope for South Africa’s unemployed youth

Business Process Outsourcing is a burgeoning sector offering rewarding career opportunities

There is no denying South Africa’s youth unemployment crisis. At 42%, nearly half of the people aged between 25 and 34 years old are unemployed. However, there is one sector that continues to offer our youngsters hope of employment and a rewarding career, our burgeoning call centre industry.

Rajan Naidoo, Managing Director of EduPower Skills Academy, says Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) or the call centre industry in South Africa has become a significant employer in recent years, providing jobs for thousands of people across the country. The good news is that the opportunities will keep on coming too as the sector is expected to almost triple in size by the end of the decade.

“More than 270 000 people currently work in the industry and recent reports estimate this will grow to around 775 000 jobs by 2030,” says Naidoo. “This is great news for South African youngsters as the sector provides job seekers with access to a rewarding career as well as further skills training and work experience, delivering much needed economic and social relief for South African families.”

Why should you consider a career in a call centre?

No experience required

Most call centre jobs are entry-level and all that is generally required to apply is a matric certificate. Unlike most roles, previous experience is not usually a prerequisite. Instead, it’s all about a great attitude because recruiters are looking for people with a positive outlook, good communications skills and a willingness to learn.

More rapid advancement

Whilst it’s fair comment that call centres often have a high employee turnover as it is a fast-paced environment not suited to everyone, people who thrive in this environment can do well – and so can their careers. That’s why most call centres offer opportunities for advancement, including supervisory and management positions. There are also numerous roles into which you can develop, including quality assurance, training, human resources, marketing and finance, accounting, IT, business intelligence and data management.

Access to in-house training

Training is part of the experience when you work in a call centre. This allows you to develop new skills and enhance existing ones such as communication and multitasking. As the job involves dealing with particular products or services offered by the employer, you will also gain an understanding of the company and the industry in which it operates and learn skills that will transfer to other jobs in the future.

Fun work environment

It’s expensive to recruit and train call centre agents so these businesses are at the forefront of employee engagement initiatives. From senior leadership to team leaders, everyone is committed to ensuring that you enjoy coming to work. With structured reward and recognition schemes as well as fun theme days such as fitness, charity, dress-up and food forays, there is always something going on to ensure you will feel valued, enjoy being part of a team and have opportunities to advance.

Better basic pay

Call centre jobs generally offer a higher basic salary than most entry-level positions. However, many companies will incentivize employees to meet and exceed their targets, so your earnings are really up to how much effort you are prepared to put in.

With call centres providing such significant impetus to job creation, Naidoo says that call centres should focus on upskilling its employees with work experience to meet the needs of the industry. From day one, learners are deeply immersed in the BPO world, developing both practical and relevant skills.

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